After breaking the college record in the women's high jump and long jump events as a freshman, Allan Hancock College's Haleigh Batty officially committed to Westmont College. Her parents, as well as her Hancock teammates and coaches watched with smiles on their faces as she signed her scholarship papers to head to Westmont.
"It feels amazing to earn an opportunity to be a student-athlete for Westmont," said Batty. "Westmont started showing interest when I was in high school and always made me feel like a priority."
During her freshman year at Hancock, the Cabrillo High School graduate set two college records in 2018: women's long jump (19 feet, 10.25 inches) and high jump (5 feet, 1.75 inches). After placing first in seven of her first eight meets of the season, Batty ended the year by winning a Western State Conference long jump title, finishing runner-up in the long jump during the Southern California Regional Championships and placing third at the CCCAA State Championships. With her third-place finish at state, Batty became the first Hancock female track and field athlete to earn All-American status in nine seasons.
"I am grateful for all of the staff, coaches and my teammates at Hancock. I feel prepared to achieve great things at Westmont and Hancock is a big reason for that," said Batty. "I can't thank Hancock enough."
Westmont competes at the NAIA level. Last year, the Westmont women finished 19th out of more than 100 teams during the NAIA Outdoor National Championships. Russell Smelley has served as Westmont's track and field head coach since 1979. The women's track team has won two Golden State Athletic Conference titles, while the men have claimed five during his tenure. He has had at least one athlete earn NAIA All-American honors in 24 of the past 25 years and in 29 of the last 32 seasons.
"I am excited to take my game to the next level and know I can do that at Westmont," added Batty, who said Westmont coaches want her to become a heptathlete where she would compete in seven events. "I am excited to challenge myself as a heptathlete. I want to be an Olympian one day. My coach at Westmont has worked with an Olympic heptathlete before, so maybe I can be the second."
Batty plans to pursue a bachelor's degree in a medical field, either nursing or sports medicine.